Autonomous data-recording devices equipped with hydrophones, deployed in remote waters off Alaska, have been used to track seasonal occurrences of blue, fin, humpback, North Pacific right, bowhead, and sperm whales
Why whales emit their characteristic calls remains largely a biological mystery, but listening for the distinctive underwater sounds provides a valuable way to track the movements of endangered large whales. Autonomous data-recording devices equipped with hydrophones (underwater microphones), deployed in remote waters off Alaska, have been used in recent years to track seasonal occurrences of blue, fin, humpback, North Pacific right, bowhead, and sperm whales, an article in the January 2006 issue of BioScience reports.
Because whale calls can be detected and recognized over tens of miles, such devices (which emit no sound) have added to scientific knowledge of the movements and calling behavior of these marine mammals. The findings have been particularly important in parts of the world, such as the seas near Alaska, where standard visual surveys are often hampered by darkness and bad weather.
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